By: Sarah LeBlanc, Ryan McKeever, Julia Wolf, Alec Wilcox and Zach Dvorak
Setting off for a day in D.C. with #MapsNotApps, we were a little intimidated by this sprawling city and curving metro system. By the end of the day, however, we considered ourselves at the very least competent in our understanding of the cityscape, and maybe even experts.
Something we found cool and different from D.C. was the melding of everyday businesses and industries next to intimidating structures like the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Washington Post. Other buildings that once housed the stories of history like the building where conspirators worked out a plan to kidnap and assassinate Lincoln had been transformed into more modern structures like a Chinese restaurant, and a famous Chinese restaurant had been transformed into a Walgreens.
As we walked over 7 miles around the city, we got lost only once, passing the Japanese Memorial almost three times. But once we found our footing, we ran into a few locals who gave us their thoughts on the upcoming inauguration and the influx of people that is sure to accompany it. Janaye, a waitress at an amazing restaurant called the Boxcar Tavern outside the Eastern Market, told us that instead of staying and braving the sure to be crowded metro, many leave for warmer temperatures or take little vacations during the political tempest. She also said that as far as what to expect in the next four years, there’s a general feeling of uncertainty around the city.
Kathie, a volunteer at the Smithsonian Castle, was most concerned about preserving museum funding around the national mall. While she doesn’t think that the funding is threatened, the feeling of uncertainty that Janaye mentioned was definitely present in different areas of the city and in different scopes of life.
We did learn at the Smithsonian Castle that the remains of James Smithson, the man who was a significant donor to the Smithsonian buildings, lay in a bathtub-like structure in the Smithsonian Castle, and he has a stone named after him, which was admittedly impressive.
Once we finished hitting all the spots on our list, we decided to stop by the Washington Post at McPherson Square. It was amazing to be in our nation’s capital standing in the lobby of a building where news is made and history is recorded.
At every spot we hit, we made sure one of us donned a sparkling pair of red white and blue sunglasses to create a theme of patriotism throughout the day. We decided that D.C. is not only tourist-friendly, but a livable city with much more to be discovered.